England thrash SA by 10 wickets
AIFF to extend Bob’s contract
Pak to probe hockey debacle at Beijing
Army XI enter Durand quarters
Foreign coaches a wasteful expenditure?
Sanawar post 2nd win
There will never be another Don Bradman, but that will not stop the quest to of all time. He was better at cricket than anybody else has been at any other sport. His Test batting average was 99.94, slightly better than his 95.14 in all matches, both more than 25 runs an innings ahead of the men in second place.
Wednesday will mark the centenary of Bradman's birth and it was 60 years ago last Monday when he finished his last Test match. His achievements remain without equal. From the moment he retired there has been a compulsion both to explain how he did what he did and to try to unveil the next Bradman.
It is one thing to laud the scale of his run-scoring, it is another to contemplate that its like will never be seen again.
Usain Bolt has run into history in the past few days with two glorious, spine-tingling performances which broke the world records for 100m and 200m and demonstrated again what it is that humans do. They get better.
Yet nobody has come close to emulating Bradman by any yardstick. Of batsmen to have played 20 Test innings, none average above 70, only four above 60.
In second place at present is another Australian, Mike Hussey, whose career after a quite astonishing start is beginning to suffer from what might be called readjustment.
It is irksome that Bradman will always stand alone, of course, because, as Bolt showed so marvellously, we want to improve on those who came before without at all deriding their achievements. That is the fun.
But all studies of Bradman - and they are by now countless - point to his uniqueness. Richard Mulvaney, a former curator of the Bradman Museum in Bowral, the small New South Wales town where Bradman moved aged three from the even smaller one of Cootamundra, concluded that the Bradman phenomenon was created by a freakish natural talent, levels of concentration and the practical formula for success he more or less stumbled on.
Decades after he was in his long pomp, it seems that coaches still fail to understand. Bradman transcended a game partly, maybe largely, because he was uncoached. One of the famous reasons for his unparalleled success lay in his formative years, when he invented a game in which he attempted to hit a golf ball with a cricket stump against a water tank in the yard at the back of the Bradman home.
He wrote in his autobiography, Farewell to Cricket: "The golf ball came back at great speed and to hit it at all with the round stump was no easy task. This rather extraordinary and primitive idea was purely a matter of amusement, but looking back I can understand how it must have developed the co-ordination of brain, eye and muscle which was to serve me so well in important matches later on." Nor did he follow orthodox method.
His stance shows that he stood with his bat between his legs, the face of the bat closed, and lifted it at an angle towards second slip, moving before the ball was bowled. It meant he had more attacking shots and the most assured foot movement. It was fashionable to decry him aesthetically but he was much more than an accumulator and much less vulnerable on wet wickets than was supposed.
In his admirable book What Sport Tells Us About Life, the Middlesex and England batsman Ed Smith explains why there will never be another Bradman.
"Three reasons: better defence, more information and a higher level of base achievement."
Sides are better at preventing the scoring of runs, there is much better information about the opposition and where those runs might be scored, and the less accomplished players are better than they used to be.
Bradman scored 117 hundreds, 37 of them doubles, in his 338 innings, one for around every three visits to the crease. In all, he scored 25 per cent of the runs made by the teams he played for. But lest anybody detect a superhuman, he failed as well: there were 86 scores under 20, including 16 ducks. Bradman assessed his best innings as the 254 at Lord's in 1930 — "practically without exception every ball went where it was intended to go".
But his most memorable was his last in Tests, because it demonstrated that he was not a machine. For 18 years his Test batting average had hovered just under or just above 100. In that summer of 1948, he finally took it above 100 with his 173 at Leeds.
Four in his final innings would have been sufficient to keep it there, but he was given a rapturous greeting on his way out, and as he said: "That reception had stirred my emotions very deeply and made me anxious." He misread Eric Hollies' googly and was bowled second ball for nought.
Bradman was soon knighted and shortly thereafter became a selector, administrator and inveterate correspondent, replying personally to all his mail. He was married for 65 years to his childhood sweetheart, Jesse. His influence on Australia and cricket was profound. He gave a nation pride in itself. "But for me," he said, "as a private man and citizen, I always preferred to think of myself just as plain Don Bradman, the boy from Bowral."
— By arrangement with The Independent
London, August 26
The visitors went 2-0 down in the five-match series after winning the toss and collapsing to 83 all out in 23 overs, their second lowest total in a one-dayer.
England then raced to their target in 14.1 overs, Matt Prior hitting 45 not out and Ian Bell an unbeaten 28. — Reuters
Player of the match: S. Broad (England).
Olympic heroes meet Prime Minister
New Delhi, August 26
The rush of people was so huge that even the large posse of police personnel posted inside and outside the airport could do little to ensure a smooth getaway for Sushil and Vijender.
Sushil was well shielded by his hefty coach Mahabali Satpal, wearing a dashing green tea shirt and a hat, though he had to suffer pushing, jostling and hemming while Vijender Singh had to wade through the wall created by enthusiastic fans all alone. But it was a never before kind of welcome nevertheless for a wrestler and a boxer in Delhi as they have emerged as the new sporting icons of the country after their Olympic conquests of the 66kg free style wrestling bronze and the 75kg boxing bronze, respectively, in Beijing.
Sushil was escorted to his Baaprola home by a cavalcade of nearly 100 vehicles while Vijender had to settle for a moderate hotel in Karol Bagh for a short night halt as both of them had to have their dates with many VVIP appointments in Delhi throughout Tuesday.
Their day began when they called on Vice-President Dr Hamid Ansari in the morning. They also met Sports Minister Dr M.S.Gill in his office, and the minister accompanied the Olympic heroes as they called on President Pratibha Patil, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. And the Indian Olympic Association held a grand reception later in the evening.
Sushil Kumar and his coach Satpal said the bronze medal victory in the Olympics will give a big boost to wrestling in the country, otherwise obsessed with cricket. Vijender Kumar echoed similar views, and despite getting a chaotic welcome at the airport, with even the exit and entry points blocked with people, the Olympic medallists kept their composure and were too glad and willing to acknowledge the presence of their close relatives, friends and acquaintances.
In the crescendo created by the arrival of Sushil and Vijender--a band in attendance, crackers bursting everywhere, fans dancing frenziedly — other Indian sportspersons and sports officials, who also arrived by the Air China flight, had to make a quiet exit. The fan presence was almost double that of those who had come to greet golden boy Abhinav Bindra who had arrived a few days earlier.
New York, August 26
The 11th-seeded Slovakian, who reached the last four at the Australian Open in January, struggled to find her range against the big-serving German and was swept aside in 71 minutes.
Groenefeld, world-ranked 141st after reaching a career-high 14th in 2006, kept her opponent on the back foot by dominating from the baseline and firing down seven aces. Top seed Ana Ivanovic survived a scare before scraping past Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round.
The Serbian, chasing her first U.S. Open title, lost her way late in the second set in but bounced back to clinch victory in just over two hours.
French Open champion Ivanovic, who missed the Olympics with a right thumb injury, cruised through the first set and led 4-2 in the second before her game unravelled.
World number 57 Dushevina forced a decider and saved two match points but the top seed finally prevailed.
Dinara Safina doused the youthful exuberance of grand slam debutante Kristie Ahn with a 6-3, 6-4 win to reach the second round. The Russian sixth seed made no allowances for Ahn, who at 16 is the youngest woman in the draw, and showed off her repertoire of groundstrokes and thundering serves to get her campaign off to a flying start.
Women’s singles first round results:
Anna-Lena Groenefeld (Germany) beat Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) 6-4, 6-2
Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) beat Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) 6-2, 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat Yaroslava Shvedova (Russia) 6-4, 6-2
Tathiana Garbin (Italy) beat Maret Ani (Estonia) 6-0, 7-6 (5)
Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) beat Vera Dushevina (Russia) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Ai Sugiyama (Japan) beat Andreja Klepac (Slovenia) 4-6, 6-3, 4-2 (Klepac retired)
Mariana Duque (Colombia) beat Tamarine Tanasugarn (Thailand) 0-6, 6-3, 6-2
Flavia Pennetta (Italy) beat Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Agnes Szavay (Hungary) beat Gail Brodsky (U.S.) 7-5, 6-3
Dinara Safina (Russia) beat Kristie Ahn (U.S.) 6-3, 6-4
Olga Govortsova (Belarus) beat Sandra Zahlavova (Czech Republic) 6-3, 6-1
Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Stephanie Cohen-Aloro (France) 6-1, 6-4
Peng Shuai (China) beat Eleni Daniilidou (Greece) 6-1, 6-0
Men's singles first round results:
Sam Querrey (U.S.) beat Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) 6-3, 6-1, 6-2
Florent Serra (France) beat Rainer Schuettler (Germany) 7-6(8), 6-0, 2-0 (Schuettler retired) — Reuters
New Delhi, August 26
India scripted a historic triumph in the AFC Challenge Cup earlier in the month to qualify for the Asian Cup after 24 years and AIFF Chief Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi told PTI that coach Houghton will get a second tenure after his current contract expires in June next year.
"Under him (Houghton) we qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup. We are going to extend his contract next year," Dasmunshi told PTI at a luncheon to acknowledge the contribution of ONGC in Indian football.
Dasmunshi also urged Bhutia not to retire and lead the team in the 2011 Asian Cup in Doha.
"Under any pressure, don't retire from international football until we spare you. You have to be there in the 2011 Asian Cup and you can retire only after we spare you," Dasmunshi earlier said to a media gathering.
The inspirational national captain acknowledged the gesture from the AIFF chief but said whether he plays in the Asia Cup or not depends on his fitness and whether he enjoys playing the game or not.
"It was a fine gesture from Dasmunshi. But as I said earlier it all depends on whether I enjoy playing football and my body allows it or not. I can't say right now that I will play till 2011. I will definitely play if I am enjoying the game at that point of time," he said.
Welcoming the move of extending Houghton's contract, Bhutia said "it augurs well for Indian football".
"It is a very positive development, I have been saying all along that Houghton can lift Indian football to greater heights. I am really happy about the decision," said the Sikkimese Sniper who led from the front in India's AFC Challenge Cup triumph.
"Not only me, all the players in the current team have been saying this," added Bhutia, who was adjudged the Most Valuable Player in the tournament which saw India beat Tajikistan 4-1 in the final at Ambedkar Stadium here. — PTI
Karachi, August 26
The Ministry said now plans would be formulated keeping in mind future events.
Meanwhile, former Olympian Khawaja Zakauddin has also resigned as the chief coach and manager of the Pakistan hockey team after their disappointing show.
Pakistan put up their worst performance in the Olympic Games finishing eighth after losing out to Australia, Great Britain, Netherlands and New Zealand.
With India not qualifying for the Beijing Games, Pakistan was the only South Asian team in hockey competition, in which Germany bagged the gold medal.
Zakauddin, who returned home with the squad last night, said he had made his mind to step down as he was devastated and hurt by his team's performance in the Olympic but declined to blame anyone for the performance.
"I don't want to get into any blame game but the fact is we just didn't play to the potential and we had a team that should have come on the podium," Zakauddin said.
Zakauddin's appointment as chief coach for the Olympics was widely criticised in Pakistan's sporting circles with former players pointing out at his age and insisting he was out of sync with the requirements of modern hockey.
"We have weaknesses in different areas and we need to work on that. I have stepped down after accepting responsibility for the poor show and to pave way for a new coach," Zakauddin said. — PTI
New Delhi, August 26
Gordon's left-foot freekick in the 66th minute was followed up by skipper M.G. Ramachandran's goal in the 81st that dashed the hopes of New Delhi Heroes in a Group A pre-quarterfinal encounter. The quarterfinal group league stage will commence from Thursday.
The local outfit needed a win to advance and they were on course with Manish Khatri heading in Amjad Ali Khan's freekick in the 35th minute.
Quarterfinal groupings Group A: Churchill Brothers, Mahindra United, Mumbai FC, Army XI.
Group B: JCT, Sporting Clube de Goa, Air India, TFA. — PTI
Foreign coaches a wasteful expenditure?
Patiala, August 26
Athletics, which had as many as nine foreign coaches, has come under a cloud as none of the athletes, who qualified for the Olympics, came even near to his or her personal best in Beijing.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI), on the recommendation of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI), had spent lakhs of rupees on the contracts of these coaches.
However, what has peeved experts is the fact that the athletic contingent fared below par at the Olympics. Also being questioned is the manner in which athletes were sent on ‘exposure’ trips to European countries at the taxpayer’s expense.
Sources revealed that the SAI and the Sports Ministry doled out nearly Rs 8.30 lakh per month in the run-up to the Olympics on the upkeep of these foreign coaches and experts.
SAI had contracted five foreign coaches, one recovery expert and three masseurs during the national camp. Out of these, seven were from Ukraine while one each was from Poland and Belarus. These coaches were paid anywhere between $1500 to 3000 per month.
Of all athletes training under these foreign coaches, only the women’s 4x400m relay quartet, P.Sreedharan (5000m, 10,000m) and Surinder Singh (5000m) managed to qualify for the Olympics.
Long jumper Anju Bobby George, who was trained by her husband Bobby George, was given a personal masseur Olena Kholpotnova (Ukraine). The masseur was paid $1500 per month.
Sanawar post 2nd win
Sanawar, August 26
The Sanawarians dominated from the very beginning and were leading 2-0 in the first half. They got their first goal through Penjo Wangchuk who also fed Alekh Sanghera well a little while later for the second goal.
Parteek Munjal put the hosts 3-0 ahead in the second half but the Dagshai boys narrowed the margin five minutes later.
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